By Elizabeth M. Lynch, founder of China Law & Policy
First Posted on Foreign Policy Digest
Solar panel installers in China
China no longer needs to worry about the U.S. as a serious green technology competitor because the U.S. just left the race. After a year-long impasse, Senate majority leader Harry Reid confirmed on July 22, 2010 that the Democrats would not be able to secure enough votes to pass the American Clean Energy and Security Act and, thus, would abandon any further efforts to do so.
But, in today’s globalized economy, rising powers like China are willing and readily able to capitalize on America’s missed opportunities. The climate change bill would have provided a coherent U.S. energy policy, directed investment to green technology and created much-needed American jobs. Read More »
News came out yesterday that France’s finance ministry would cut key solar feed-in tariff subsidies (FiT) cut for all commercial solar installations from September 1st, 2010. Continue reading French Solar Market to Remain Strong Despite Subsidy Cuts
Puon Pennis a senior v.p. and the head of Wells Fargo & Company’s newly launched national clean energy group in Palo Alto, Calif. We talked to Penn as part of GER’sCornerstone Conversations, our ongoing series of interviews with leading executives of the renewable energy sector. Wells Fargo is one of the country’s largest (and discreet) renewable energy investors, owning equity stakes in hundreds of solar, wind and waste-to-energy power plants across the U.S. So far, Wells Fargo’s clean energy group has loaned more than $600 million to renewable energy companies. Penn, who was born in Cambodia, is a graduate of Reed College in Oregon and has an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago. He maintains close ties to his native homeland, actively fund raising for a number of humanitarian initiatives there, including for the Angkor Hospital for Children in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
GER: Why launch a dedicated renewable energy-financing group now?
Puon Penn: We’ve actually been working with clean energy clients for a while, so this is not a new business for us. But obviously with the growth in clean tech investments over the past couple of years our client list has grown and so it became evident that we needed to form a dedicated unit to manage those relationships to better respond to their specific needs. Clean energy is a growth sector that includes different types of companies; some are in startup mode and need financing to support day-to-day operations. We also work with larger companies that need to secure bank debt to finance construction of manufacturing plants overseas.
GER: How have Wells Fargo and in particular your unit been affected by the credit crisis? Have you curtailed lending?
PP: Our unit has provided $600 million in funding to date. I can’t say that we’ve tightened our lending requirements and we’re not planning to do that either. We typically lend between $2 million to $10 million or more than $100 million for larger projects, typically we provide recourse financing. It helps that we’re backed by a $1.2 trillion in capital base. That gives us some flexibility. I guess the best way to put it is that our credit requirements have remained consistent in good and bad times. Continue reading The Cornerstone Conversation: Puon Penn, Head of Wells Fargos Cleantech Financing Group